My Comments Re: Casino Ajax & Durham Live

I’ve always been known to tell people where I stand on issues, so I want to clear up my position on the casino.

I, like Mayor Parish & Council, support the casino remaining in Ajax, where it has been a success for over a decade but recent news has made it pretty clear that we will be losing the casino to Pickering and the Durham Live proposal.

I agree, we must hear more on how to clear congestion at Chruch/Bayly and I trust that will be accomplished. Ajax and its taxpayers are correct in bringing up traffic issues on Bayly and specifically on two lane Church St. I do however trust that Durham Live will make future road improvements to make their site fully accessible for its customers and that would mean keeping traffic moving. After all, they do want to keep their customers happy and no one is happy when they sit in traffic.

I do disagree with Mayor Parish & Council when they say this project will kill Pickering Village and in fact, I believe the opposite. I believe Pickering Village has an opportunity to finally thrive like never before. The added foot-traffic from Durham Live will help our many restaurants and small businesses in Pickering Village. People must not forget that this Mayor has forgot about Pickering Village and its business owners just like he has our Downtown and its business owners.

I also do not believe any backroom deals were made and I frankly do not believe in any of the conspiracy theories put forward by Ajax Council and Mayor Parish. What I do believe is that this proves once again that the Town of Ajax gets left in the dust because Mayor Parish couldn’t work well with others. We’ve seen this happen time and time again on various issues. I am also a believer in shared revenue regardless of where the casino ends up. Ajax, Pickering, Whitby & Durham Region should all receive revenues from any casino.

Here is what I would be focusing on if I were our Mayor or an Ajax Councillor:
1.     Meet with Durham Live representatives and stakeholders to discuss easing congestion on Bayly, Church and in Pickering Village.
2.     Get to the negotiating table and get a revenue sharing deal done with our neighbours in Pickering.
3.     Ensure ZERO job losses in the transition of sites from Ajax to Pickering.
4.     Communicate with provincial and regional officials to expand and/or upgrade service at Ajax Go Station, as it is the closest Go Station to Durham Live.

Moving DYC Forward

Since hearing concerns from the community about Durham Youth Council’s future, I’ve been meeting with a diverse group of people to determine what my next step should be in regards to returning to the organization. 

After consulting with that group, I will be proposing to Youth Council and its Board of Directors that the DYC establish a Chair Emeritus position within the organization. 

The Chair Emeritus will serve as an advisor to the Youth Chair on a variety of issues but will play a key role in fundraising, recruitment and working with the Board of Directors. 

I will be asking Youth Council to amend its by-law to allow for this change as well as making the Chair Emeritus an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors. 

I want my intentions to be clear out of the gate, I will be seeking the appointment of Chair Emeritus should Youth Council decide to establish it. I have begun to reach out to my former colleagues on Youth Council and to date have received the signatures of well over half a dozen former Youth Councillors, all of whom support this step forward for DYC. 

I look forward to further conversations with Youth Councillors and DYC’s Board on how we can move Youth Council forward. I’m excited for August’s Annual General Meeting.